Kids Mediation

Welcome to our award-winning Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Service. We help families resolve disputes with the local authority or health service.

We are an independent service. That means we’re not part of the local authority.

Our service is free of charge for families and is for children and young people aged 0 – 25 with SEND or who may have SEND.

What is mediation?

SEND Mediation and Disagreement Resolution is a quicker and less formal way to resolve disagreements than going to Tribunal. It can save time and pressure for all involved and it can help re-build relationships that have broken down.

Kids is one the the UK’s most experienced mediation services. We provide mediation services in over 30 local authorities across England.

We offer a high quality, fully impartial and professional service. We have the expertise and knowledge to help people work together to resolve disagreements quickly and with very little paperwork, finding solutions that are right for the child or young person.

Young people

If you’re aged 16 – 26 you can access mediation yourself. Find out more about how mediation can help you.

A young person and a staff member are standing with their arms over each other's shoulders. The young person is a wearing a grey t-shirt while the staff member is wearing an orange one. Both are wearing caps.


Mediation is a free and effective way for families of children and young people with SEND to resolve disputes with the local authority, and health services.

An adult woman and teenage girl sit on grass hugging and smiling.


Kids Mediation can support you to resolve disputes in a positive and cost-effective way.

A young person is writing something down on paper. There is a staff member sitting next to the young person, smiling at them.


Find answers to our frequently asked questions about mediation.

If you would like more detailed information and guides on Mediation please click the button below.

Mediation is an informal, voluntary process which involves an independent facilitator (the mediator).

Mediation works best when parties to the dispute come to the meeting with a real desire to resolve the disagreement and a willingness to negotiate.

Using mediation does not affect the parent /carer’s or young person’s right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal. For more information about the SEND Tribunal, please visit their website.

A parent or young person can ask for Disagreement Resolution (DR) at any time during the SEND process, even when you have already lodged a Tribunal appeal. Access to disagreement resolution covers all children and young people with SEND, whether or not they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).

However, the other party or parties involved in the disagreement have to agree to take part before it can take place. Otherwise Disagreement Resolution works in exactly the same way as Mediation.

Disagreement Resolution is for these types of disputes:

  • How Local Authorities or education providers (early years, schools, colleges) carry out their education, health and care duties for children or young people with SEND.
  • About the SEND provision made by education providers
  • About health and social care provision during all the stages of the EHC plan process.

Disagreement Resolution can also be used to resolve school exclusions involving children or young people with SEND.

This service is for parents/carers, young people, local authorities, education providers (early years, schools, colleges) and health services. If referrals are made by anyone other than parents/carers or young person, they should be informed before you make contact with our service.

This service is free for families. Our telephone number is a local call rate number to ensure service users do not incur unnecessary costs.

We are open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, except bank holidays. You can leave a message on our answering machine outside office hours. We aim to call you back within 2 working days.

Parents/carers and young people over 16 can make referrals directly. Anybody else involved with the child or young person and who does not have parental responsibility should check with the family first before contacting us.

Requests for mediation and disagreement resolution can come from:

  • Parents/Carers
  • Young people over 16
  • Local Authority Officers including Social Care
  • Health Services representatives
  • SENDIASS Officers (on behalf of the family or young person)
  • Education Providers (early years, school, college, PRU etc)
  • Other parties, such as voluntary agencies (on behalf of the family or young person)

You do not need to send us any paperwork. A member of staff will take your referral and explain the next steps.

Kids SEND Mediation Service has an experienced panel of independent, experienced mediators who are highly-skilled professionals. They all have an accredited qualification in SEND mediation.

The mediator:

  • helps those in dispute to reach agreements that are acceptable to all parties.
  • is impartial and does not take sides.
  • facilitates discussions and ensures that everyone is treated fairly.
  • is in control of the process but not of the outcome of the mediation. It is the parties that find solutions and decide the outcome.

When parents / carers / the young person have decided to go to mediation or disagreement resolution, we will make all the practical arrangements and help all involved to prepare for the meeting.

Dates for most mediation meetings are arranged within 30 days of the decision to go to mediation.

The mediator or case worker will help all parties involved prepare for the mediation by clarifying the issues to be discussed. A brief summary is provided in advance of the meeting, including any new information about the child / young person. This ensures that everybody is prepared and knows what needs to be discussed and resolved.

The mediator or caseworker will help establish who should be at the meeting, and when and where it should take place.

Our staff will keep everybody involved informed about progress.

Mediation is about understanding the issues of the disagreement and trying to solve them. It brings together the people who know the child or young person.

It is not about “who is right and who is wrong” and the focus is on the present and the future rather than the past. People work together to resolve problems with the help of the mediator and make the decisions. This is different to the Tribunal, where a panel hear the parties’ evidence and then make a ruling.

A Kids SEND mediator manages the mediation meeting, which usually lasts between 2 and 3 hours. The mediator makes sure everyone at the meeting can have their say and are listened to. Our mediators are impartial and they do not take sides or impose decisions.

Usually people reach an agreement, which is put in writing with the help of the mediator and a copy given to everyone.

Following mediation, we issue a certificate within 3 working days to confirm that mediation has taken place. This ensures that when families are not satisfied with the outcome of the mediation meeting, they have 1 month to make a tribunal appeal.

Quality assurance

Kids is committed to delivering a consistently high level of service across our Mediation services.

  • We have a panel of highly experienced mediators, all of whom hold a SEND Accredited Mediator Certificate.
  • Our own SEND Mediation Service Quality Standards ensure consistent high quality and continuous improvement.
  • Our service is accredited by the Civil Mediation Council.
  • Our team were part of the Department for Education’s working group that helped develop the SEND Mediator Accredited Standards, so you can rely on our expertise.

We can tailor our service to meet your needs and have a range of training packages available. Please contact us to discuss.

Mediation stories

Read our real-life stories about how mediation has supported young people and families.

The front building of the Hackney Playground is painted magenta, orange, yellow, green, light blue and dark blue. On the wall there is writing which reads, 'Welcome Kids - be kind'
Mediation stories
12 Sep 2023

Anita’s story

Anita and her mother used our mediation service after the local authority turned down their request for an EHC needs assessment. Read more.

A staff and a young person are hugging at our Hackney Playground.
Mediation stories
15 Jun 2023

Xavier’s story

Xavier's mother reached out to our Mediation service to get her son the right school placement. Read their story.

A staff member is walking with a child in a green area. They are photographed from behind.
Early years
22 Apr 2023

Selma’s story

Selma is a young girl with Down's syndrome. Her parents reached out to our Mediation service for support. Read their story.

A wall painted magenta, orange, yellow and blue. There is text painted on top, which reads ' Be kind'.
Mediation stories
23 Feb 2023

Sam’s story

Sam and her mother accessed our Mediation service after the local authority decided not to carry our a needs assessment. Read their story.

A boy is sitting at a table with staff members on either side of him. He is wearing a mask and doing arts and crafts.
Mediation stories
27 Jan 2023

Tristan’s story

Tristan's parents used our Mediation service to get his Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) reviewed. Read their story.

A boy is photographed from behind, walking on grass with a walking aid.
Early years
27 Jan 2023

Michael’s story

Michael's mother used our Mediation service after the local authority decided not to carry our a needs assessment on him. Read their story.

A staff member is looking at a young person whose back is facing the camera. They are both sitting around a table. There is another member of staff in the background.
Mediation stories
27 Jan 2023

Adam’s story

Young person Adam requested mediation to discuss the Local Authority's decision not to carry out an EHC needs assessment. Read his story.

A woman and three children are doing crafts
Early years
22 Apr 2021

Maya’s story

Maya's parents reached out to our Mediation service after a disagreement with their local authority. Read their story.